Andy Mattingly discusses some of the most prevalent scam stories and how we can protect ourselves from fraud. Click here to watch the video associated with this blog on CBS4Indy's 4 Your Money segment.
Your money and personal information are two areas where being fooled is not funny. Being a victim of fraud or a scam is never pleasant and many unsuspecting people who should know better get caught because they let their guard down and don’t use reason. Scam artist are very talented and work very hard to make all of their scams believable. Arming yourself with a little knowledge and always doing your research are two great ways to avoid being a fraud victim.
What is the most typical scam that people need to be aware of?
The most prevalent involve scam artists representing themselves as a financial institution or even the IRS and asking people to provide personal data including social security number, date of birth and financial account numbers. All of this is designed to either get to your money in your current financial institution or to steal your identity and setup fraudulent accounts.
Is there ever a time a financial institution or the IRS will call someone to ask for that information?
There never is a time that a financial institutions or the IRS will call and ask anyone for that information. If you call them, they will ask you to verify it but never will they call you asking for it. You should always be suspicious of these types of calls and report them immediately.
What are ways that scam artists work to get money from you?
There are two primary ways that many people lose their money to a scam. The first involves pop up charities claiming to be helping in the aftermath of some disaster. Often these charities are started by scam artist to pray on people’s desire to help. Make sure the charity is legit or donate to a charity that has an established reputation.
What’s the second one?
The second one can take two forms, either being asked to cash a large check and wire money to an individual and the second version of this is being told you have won a foreign lottery but to get your millions, you have to wire a large sum to get the government to release the funds. Using a wire transfer is just like giving that person cash. You have no recourse if you discover it’s a scam.
How should you protect yourself?
There are 4 simple rules to follow…
- Don’t send money to someone you don’t know, so if buying online, only use a payment method with protection, like a credit card
- Don’t reply to messages or phone calls asking for personal information
- Don’t ever send money to get more money, like a foreign lottery or a long lost relative’s inheritance or wiring money after cashing a check.
- Trust your first instincts, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and you should walk away and report it.